Button Menu

History

History, a discipline that belongs to both the humanities and the social sciences, is the study of change over time. By exploring the complexities of peoples and societies in the past, the present becomes more comprehensible. As a core discipline of the liberal arts, history encourages students to think critically, to argue logically and to examine the values of their society and those of other societies. By developing research, analytical, writing, oral communication and problem solving skills, the undergraduate major in History is valuable preparation for a broad range of occupations, for graduate and professional schools and for the responsibilities of informed citizenship. Recent history majors have pursued careers in education, law, government service, journalism, public history, social agencies, business and finance. The History department brings historians and history makers to campus, encourages off-campus study and travel, shows films and documentaries, sponsors field trips to historical sites and assists students in finding history-related internships. The History department offers introductory and advanced work in the following geographic fields: Africa, East Asia, Europe, Latin America and the United States. Students wishing to count courses taken off-campus toward a major or minor in history should note that approval is not automatic and that they must obtain prior approval from their academic advisors and the department chair.

Course Catalog

Requirements for a major

History

Total courses required Ten--Nine in History and one in cognate field
Core courses
  • Either HIST 100 or HIST 197
  • HIST 295
  • Either HIST 490 or HIST 495 and HIST 496.
  • The core courses in the major, as well as all required 300-level courses (with limited approved exceptions) must be taken on campus,
Other required courses
  • Of the remaining six courses, five must be at the 200-level or above, at least three of which must be at the 300-level.
  • Students must select a concentration in one of the following four thematic areas: Empires, Nations, Migrations & Politics; Gender & Sexuality; Ideas, Health, the Body, & Science; Race, Religion, & Identity. To fulfill a concentration, students must take four courses--3 of which must be History courses, and 1 course must be from a different discipline, department, or program that addresses the concentration from their perspective. At least one course in the concentration must be at the 300-level. Courses in concentration should not be confined to a single global region or country.
  • At least one course must be taken in three of the following seven geographic fields: Africa, East Asia, Europe, Latin America, Middle East, the Pacific Islands, and the United States.
  • The content of at least one course must primarily cover a period of history prior to 1800.
Number 300 and 400 level courses Four
Senior requirement and capstone experience

The History Department offers two routes to the senior capstone experience: a) Senior Seminar (History 490); b) Senior Thesis (History 495-496). Both experiences require students to employ and refine the research, writing and communication skills they have developed over the previous three years at DePauw by producing a piece of original historical research. These writing-intensive projects require sophisticated approaches to sources, analysis, and presentation, as well as imagination and discipline in the selection and refinement of research topics.

Senior Seminar (History 490) is a one-semester class devoted to the design and implementation of historical research in a subfield and historical methodology of each seminar member's choosing. The seminar instructor assumes primary responsibility for guiding the seminar participants, though students are encouraged over the course of the semester to consult other department faculty whose regional, thematic, and chronological specializations correspond to the selected topic. The end result is an original piece of historical research typically totaling between 30 and 40 pages of writing. (For a list of some recent Senior Seminar papers, click here; for a sample History 490 syllabus, click here). In addition to producing a paper, students must contribute actively to the development of their peers' projects through brain-storming, editing, and commentary; each student will make a research presentation to the seminar and invited guests toward the end of the semester.

Senior Thesis (History 495-496) requires two-semesters of intensive research and writing on a topic approved by a member of the department who serves as the student's principal thesis supervisor. During the first semester, the student will undertake reading, research, and drafting. Thesis students may participate in either a section of HIST 490 or a seminar group limited to students enrolled in HIST 495; during the second semester the student will complete the written thesis; give a public presentation based on the research; and defend the thesis before a committee of history department faculty. Students seeking a rigorous challenge of developing a historical project of greater scope and requiring greater independence than Senior Seminar may wish to consider this option. To be eligible for the Senior Thesis a history major must have a GPA in the major of at least 3.3 and permission of the department. Theses typically total between 60 and 80 pages, organized in chapters. (For a selection of Senior Thesis titles in recent years, click here). Students contemplating graduate study in history are encouraged to consider this option.

Writing in the Major The History major fosters a community of writers working together to produce cogent analysis of the past. We embrace writing as a mode of thinking and develop each writer's personal sense of historical voice as she learns to frame historical questions enticing to the reader. Among the core competencies that writing in the major promotes are: the advancement of substantive, nuanced arguments; the ability to position oneself within the existing scholarly literature, the adaptation of relevant theoretical frameworks; and the construction of powerful narratives based on primary documents. The senior seminar paper demonstrates mastery of these elements of the craft and thus is the capstone of the major's development as a writer. In order to produce successful and gratifying outcomes, the department takes a developmental approach as majors learn three types of writing: 1) historiographical analysis; 2) discussion and assessment of theoretical frameworks; 3) analytical narrative based on primary sources.

Our 100-level and 200-level classes provide a solid base in historiographical writing through response papers, book reviews, exams, as well as bibliographic essays. These courses also introduce students to the basics of writing from and about primary sources, learning to account for not only the content of historical documents, but also the contexts in which the documents were produced and the biases the documents express. Our required course for majors HIST 295, History Today: Debates and Practices introduces students in a formal way to writing about theory. This course features assignments such as analyzing the work of a particular historian with an eye toward how that historian defines and engages methodological and theoretical developments in the field. A final paper in History 295 asks students to anticipate the kind of methodologies that they would like to deploy in their advanced work and what theoretical frameworks will guide their selection of further courses and research topics.

Each 300-level class features a major research paper either emphasizing historiography or analytical narrative from primary sources, as a major writing component. Students draft these papers of approximately 12-15 pages in stages through a process that involves both peer-editing and regular professorial consultation. In order to ensure that every student has experience in each of these areas, course descriptions and syllabi will indicate clearly whether the course will emphasize one or the other kind of paper, with the expectation that every student have one of each experience, ideally before senior year.

Requirements for a minor

History

Total courses required Five
Core courses One course at the 100-level, one at the 200-level and one at the 300-level; HIST 295.
Other required courses At least two geographic areas, one of which must be Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, or the Pacific Islands.
Number 300 and 400 level courses One

Courses in History

HIST 100

Historical Encounters

An introduction to historical analysis and argumentation. While individual sections will focus on different topics and time periods, in all sections students will investigate a range of sources, methods and historical approaches to the past. Hist 100 may be repeated for credit with different topics.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course

HIST 105

The American Experience

An introduction to American history through study of a special topic. Regularly offered American Experience courses include: The West, Slavery and Reform Movements. HIST 105 may be repeated for credit with different topics.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course

HIST 107

Introduction to China and Japan

An interdisciplinary introduction to Chinese and Japanese civilizations from their beginning through the mid-19th century, stressing cultural ideals and the social relations of families and classes, including peasants and townsmen, bureaucrats, beggars and bandits, warlords and women.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities-or-Global Learning 1 course

HIST 108

Modern China and Japan

An introductory examination of East Asia in the modern world, beginning with the Western impact in the mid-19th century and focusing on Japanese industrialization and empire, Chinese revolution, World War II in Asia and trends to the present.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities-or-Global Learning 1 course

HIST 109

African Civilizations

This course concentrates on Africa south of the Sahara. It surveys the major changes in this region over the 2000 years which preceded the onset of European colonial rule in the late 19th century. It brings the story of African history up to 1880, the point at which European colonialism irrevocably changed the course of African social development. The course focuses on the major dynamics of economic and political change, including the development of states and large systems of trade. The study of African history has produced a particularly wide variety of views and interpretations. Some writers have asserted, for example, that Africans possessed little political organization in the past, while others celebrate ancient African kingdoms. The purpose of this course is to help students make their own judgments about competing claims and conflicting interpretations of the African past. A major aspect of this history is the Atlantic slave trade. The course places the slave trade in the wider context of African political, economic and social history, and examines its impact on African societies. It discusses the major arguments which have developed among historians of Africa, and looks at how historians use archaeological, linguistic and documentary evidence. Above all, it discusses historians' use of African oral tradition. As we will see, one of the most interesting aspects of African historical study is that it draws upon kinds of evidence which are rarely used by historians in other parts of the world, and so gives us an unusual perspective on the human past.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities-or-Global Learning 1 course

HIST 110

Modern Africa

Africa since 1880: European colonization and African resistance to colonialism; the diverse socioeconomic and political concerns of colonialism to the eve of decolonization; the many contradictions of a colonialism caught up in a wind of change, concession-prone in some areas, stolidly uncompromising in others; political independence and the policies it produced; and the path to Africa's present state of dependency and political instability.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities-or-Global Learning 1 course

HIST 111

European Civilization I--1300-1800

A history of Europe from about 1300 to 1789, including the end of the medieval world, the Renaissance and Reformation, Scientific Revolution, the age of Enlightenment and the French Revolution.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities-or-Global Learning 1 course

HIST 112

European Civilization II--1789-Present

A history of Europe from 1789 to the present, including French Revolution and Napolean, Industrialization, the Age of the Nation States, the struggle among liberal, communist and fascist ideologies, World Wars I and II, postwar reconstruction, decolonization and European integration.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities-or-Global Learning 1 course

HIST 113

Introduction to Central Europe

In this course we examine the historical and cultural developments of Central Europe with special attention to the dramatic events of the 20th century. The course will include an analysis of the Reformation, Religious Warfare including the Thiry Years war, the legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the divisions of Poland etc. In the 20th century, we examine the legacy of World War II, German Occupation and the Holocaust, the emergence and experience of Communism and the influence of the Soviet Union, as well as the revolutions of 1989 and post-communist Eastern Europe. Moreover, we will pursue transnational issues such as the role of women and religious and ethnic minorities (Gypsies and Jews) in the region.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course

HIST 115

Colonial Latin America

The societies and cultures of Latin America from pre-Hispanic times to the early 19th century. Topics include indigenous societies, period of contact and conquest, resistance and accommodation in the emerging colonial regimes and the revolutions for independence. Emphasis on social relations and cultural practices of the diverse Latin American peoples.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Social Science-or-Global Learning 1 course

HIST 116

Modern Latin America

The legacies of independence, modernization processes, revolutionary upheaval, nationalisms and the populist movements that marked the history of Latin America from 1825 to the present. Emphasis on social relations and cultural practices of the diverse Latin American peoples.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Social Science-or-Global Learning 1 course

HIST 121

Introduction to the Middle East

The course surveys the various factors that shaped the political, religious, cultural and social features of Classical Islamic civilization and Middle Eastern/Islamic history from the sixth century to 1500 AD. Its geographic scope comprises Al-Andalus (Muslim Spain), Central Asia and the territories of the former Ottoman and Safavid empires: Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Palestine, Egypt, Arabia, the Caucuses and Iran. Where appropriate, audio-visual material will be utilized.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities-or-Global Learning 1 course

HIST 122

Modern Middle East

The course surveys the various factors that have shaped the political, religious, cultural and social features of the modern Middle East from 1500 to 2005. Its geographic scope comprises the central provinces and territories of the former Ottoman and Safavid empires: Turkey, Iraq, Syria, Israel, Palestine, Egypt, Arabia and Iran. It will emphasize the historical evolution of Middle Eastern politics from dynastic and religious empires in the 16th century to modern nation-states in the 20th century; the impact of industrial capitalism and European imperial expansion on local societies; and third, the religious, socio-cultural and ideological dimensions of these large-scale transformations.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Social Science-or-Global Learning 1 course

HIST 150

History Commons

A multi-section course probing a major historical theme with global or comparative dimensions. Topic will rotate every two to three years.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course

HIST 156

Advanced Placement in History

Advanced placement credit for entering first-year students. A. United States History; B. European History; C. World History.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

HIST 183

Off-Campus Extended Studies Course

May or Winter Term off-campus study project on a historical theme.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
variable

HIST 184

ES On-Campus Course

Extended Studies History course.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1/2 course

HIST 197

First-Year Seminar

The first-year seminars focus on different historical topics, but all introduce students to the interdisciplinary nature of historical inquiry and include emphasis on discussion, writing and reading a variety of primary sources. Recent seminar topics include: Americans and War, Myth, Memory and History, Declarations of Independence, Rise and Fall of the Nuclear Family and (De)Constructing Race in the U.S. HIST 197 is open only to first-year students.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

HIST 200

Topics (formerly HIST 290)

A study of a special topic with an emphasis on discussion and participation. Descriptions of HIST 200 courses offered in a given semester are available on the History department Website or in the History department office prior to registration for that semester. May be repeated for credit with different topics.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

HIST 205

From Colony to Nation: The Legacy of Colonialism in Latin America, 1700-c.1930

By surveying the late colonial period to the early twentieth-century, this class focuses on the troubled transition from colony to nation in Latin America. As students will learn, the transition from European colonialism to modern republics did not translate to the emergence of democratic societies that advanced the rights of all citizens. Indeed, slavery and patriarchal and racial hierarchies--holdovers from Spanish and Portuguese colonial rule--endured and remained deeply entrenched. Additionally, Latin America's colonial legacy complicated its transition to stable, unified nations, practicing liberal, democratic values. Ending with the neocolonial age of late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, students will see how exploitive and unequal colonial relationships between Europe, the US, and Latin America were reestablished and ensconced. Throughout, this class emphasizes the experiences and agency of marginalized groups--women, native peoples, Afro-Latin Americans, and the poor--tracking changes and continuities in their realities during a time of upheaval and great change. By taking this class, students will see the impacts of Western colonialism and how it endured, leaving indelible marks on Latin America's present.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities-or-Global Learning 1 course

HIST 206

History of Mexico

A social history of Mexico from pre-Hispanic times to the present. Emphasizing processes of resistance, rebellion and accommodation, this course examines the social and cultural dynamics of the major Mesoamerican societies (Aztecs and Maya), the colonial period and the process of nation formation. Attention will be given to gender and ethnic issues.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Social Science 1 course

HIST 207

Latin American Environmental History

The diversity of people, geography and ecology in Latin America combine to make it one of the most diverse environments on the planet. Complementing this diversity is a rich history of human interactions with the environment. Knowing this history informs us about indigenous economic and cultural practices that offer alternative ways of thinking about how people relate to their environment. The history of conquest and colonization illustrate the dramatic, if not catastrophic, impact of European environmental practices, which helps us to further understand how modernity attempted to control nature, as well as the consequences of this effort. Learning the history also shows the troubled relationship between capitalism and the planet's resources, and how the troubles were important in shaping Latin America's social, political, economic and cultural landscapes. The history is important for our thinking about the contemporary and future challenges we face, especially in the areas of climate change, resource extraction, food sovereignty, disease and energy.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Social Science 1 course

HIST 215

Close Encounters with Empires: The Beginnings of Latin America

Empires, both indigenous and European, played key roles in shaping the early history of Latin America, a period defined by powerful and innovative native empires, European conquest and expansion, the formation of racial and patriarchal hierarchies, the slave trade, massive historical change, and surprising cultural continuities. From the Aztecs and the Incas to the Spanish and the Portuguese, early empires--as we will learn--made lasting marks on the societies, cultures, and peoples of this important region. These empires, however, would not have made such enduring impacts without the people that constituted them, those who by force, coercion, or voluntary action both constructed and became entangled in empire's web. Thus, this class pays close attention to the everyday people who experienced close encounters with colonial, imperial, and expansionary states during this early period, namely native peoples, the poor, Afro-Latin Americans, mixed-race individuals known as castas, and women. By focusing on marginalized groups' experiences under various empires and their essential roles in negotiating, resisting, constructing, and transforming their respective societies, this class demonstrates the profound ways people "from below" shaped the course of history and, by extension, our present reality.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities-or-Global Learning 1 course

HIST 216

Power to the People: The Struggle for Democracy and Rights in Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Latin America

This class surveys the ongoing struggle for rights, equality, and democracy by everyday people--women, native people, Afro-Latin Americans, the poor, and the queer community--in twentieth and twenty-first century Latin America. Characterized by the rise of unions, working class involvement in politics, attempts at land reforms, and the advancement of women's suffrage, the first half of the twentieth-century saw an expansion in people's rights and political participation, thereby making Latin American nations more democratic and inclusive than ever before. However, as students will learn, the struggle for equal rights and stable democracies for all citizens did not proceed in a linear, unobstructed fashion in the region. Rather, progress was fitful at best and, at worst, often times took significant steps back. Threats, both domestic and international, posed significant challenges to the democratization of Latin America; US and CIA interventions during the Cold War, for example, led to dictators across the region who impoverished their own countries; terrorized their populations; ended democratic rule; and limited the rights of women, the queer community, and people of color. Thus, this class challenges the "myth of progress," highlighting that democracy, civil rights, and greater equality are not guarantees in our modern world. That being said, this course demonstrates that everyday people persistently negotiated and pushed back against structures of oppression, leading to indigenous rebellions, social revolutions, and feminist and gay liberation movements. Indeed, Latin Americans "from below" shaped and continue to shape Latin America. The class will end by considering the current state of democracy and women's, queer, and indigenous rights, as well as other major issues facing the regions' nations in the twenty-first century.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities-or-Global Learning 1 course

HIST 221

France from Charlemagne to Napoleon

The history of France from the Merovingians of Gaul to the Napoleonic era with an emphasis on intellectual, cultural and social movements of this early period. Major topics: Charlemagne and the Carolingian Empire; the Hundred Years' War; rise of absolutism; the Wars of Religion; the Fronde; the Age of Louis XIV; the Enlightenment; the French Revolution.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course

HIST 222

The Crusades

This course will examine the 10th- to 14th-century movement of Western European Christians to the lands of the eastern Mediterranean. Why did they go? What were the expected outcomes of this movement? Was it successful, and how should success be determined? How did the crusades change both European and Middle Eastern culture? These questions and more will be the focus of this course.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities-or-Global Learning 1 course

HIST 223

The Vikings

This course will examine Scandinavian and early medieval European society before, during, and after the Viking raids of the eighth through eleventh centuries in order to assess the impact of those raids on the development of European civilization. We will work to come to an understanding of this period through the close analysis of a variety of sources, including law codes, epic poems, artwork, and archaeological excavations.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities-or-Global Learning 1 course

HIST 225

European Women's History

An examination of the cultural and intellectual roles of women in Early Modern Western Europe. In addition to surveying the women's traditional place in European society, this course also considers the work of exceptional women who argued against that role. Topics include the debate on the nature of women, women in power, witchcraft, women and science, women in revolutions and the education of women.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course

HIST 232

19th and 20th Century Britain

This course surveys Britain in the 19th and 20th centuries, a period that both affirmed and questioned the "greatness" of Great Britain in political, economic and social terms. Central course themes include the transformation of Britain's economic standing, from the "workshop of the world" to perceptions of "declinism". The contrasting political fortunes of the Conservative, Liberal and Labour parties are highlighted; from "Tory paternalism" to Thatcherite Revolution, from socialist trade unionism to "Blairism". Class, immigration and Anglo-Irish affairs are explored as well as the effects of war and peace, depression and prosperity upon British society. The course also includes a consideration of the growth of the British Empire and its comparatively rapid dissolution in the post-war era.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course

HIST 233

British Empire

At its apogee, the British Empire incorporated nearly one-quarter of the world's landmass and population. This course examines the British imperial "world system" from the granting of the East India Company charter through imperial liquidation, with a particular emphasis on events during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The course's geographic range includes considerations of British imperialism in South Asia, Asia, the Pacific, Africa and the Americas. The class analyzes important historiographical debates, the differences between formal and informal imperialism, competing visions of Empire, indigenous responses, and the cultures of imperialism.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course

HIST 241

Russian History to the 19th Century

Development of Russian state, society and culture from the ninth to the 19th centuries, with particular attention to the Kievan, Mongol, Muscovite and Imperial periods.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course

HIST 242

Modern Russia

Culture and society in the last years of the Empire; the growth of the revolutionary movement in the late 19th and early 20th centuries; the establishment of the Soviet Union, its development, decline and collapse; and the beginnings of post-Soviet Russia.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course

HIST 244

Germany from Unification to Unification, 1870-1989

Germany has played a central and disruptive role in the recent history of Europe. The domestic and foreign conflicts that have dominated the country's history with such far-reaching consequences will provide the focus of the course. The course covers the political, social and cultural developments that shaped the course of German history from the creation of a unified Germany in 1871 to the reunification of Germany in 1990. It examines the Imperial period, World War I, the Weimar Republic, the Nazi experience, the division of postwar Germany and its reunification in our own times.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course

HIST 245

The Holocaust

The Holocaust was one of the defining experiences of the 20th century and the memory of its horrors continues to haunt our imaginations. In this course we will examine the background, development, and the historical and moral impact of the Holocaust in Europe. We will use historical documents and historical scholarship, but also literature, autobiography, films, etc.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities-or-Global Learning 1 course

HIST 252

U.S. - East Asian Relations

This course will examine the interactions between the United States and the major countries in East Asia - China, Japan, and Korea - from the 19th century to the present. The topics that will be explored include cultural interactions and changing mutual images, the impact of imperialism, Asian nationalisms, the Pacific War, communism in Asia, the Japanese developmental state, and, more recently, China's rise as a capitalist state with Chinese characteristics.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Social Science-or-Global Learning 1 course

HIST 253

The Creation of East Asia: Transformations and Traditions

This is a survey of the history of East Asia, c. 1300 BCE to 900 CE, focusing on China with additional consideration of Japan and Inner Asia. The course starts with the beginning of the region's written past in the 2nd millennium BCE and concludes with a consideration of the emergence of a multipolar region after the collapse of the Tang empire in China in the 10th century. Some of the topics explored: the creation of a continental empire; the spread and indigenization of religious traditions; the world of aristocrats and the peasant society they ruled; the values of this aristocratic milieu, especially in so far as they have shaped many of the cultural touchstones of East Asia today.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities-or-Global Learning 1 course

HIST 254

The Emergence of East Asia: Scholars, Warriors, and Empires

This is a survey of the history of East Asia, c. 900 CE to 1800 CE, focusing on China and Japan, with some consideration of Korea and Vietnam. The course begins with the emergence in the 10th century of a multipolar region following the collapse of the Tang empire in China, and ends c. 1800 with the global repercussions of the industrial revolutions. The period is characterized by transformations in state and society broadly associated with Neo-Confucianism, commercialization, and steppe-based imperial formations. Topics explored in the course include: formation of elite status groups (scholar-officials, samurai), women & gender, empires, trade, environment.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities-or-Global Learning 1 course

HIST 255

East Asia in the Modern World

This is a survey of the history of East Asia, c. 1800 to the present. The course begins with the mature states and societies of China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam at the end of the eighteenth century and finishes with a consideration of the post-Cold War era. We cover the dissolution of early modern states, encounters with global industrialization and imperialism, the rise of nation-states, social and cultural modernity, postwar/Cold War revolution and developmentalism, and late 20th century globalization. Some topics explored in the course: feminism, colonialism, imperialism, modernity, ideologies, war, cities.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities-or-Global Learning 1 course

HIST 256

African Cultures

A review of cultural change in various African societies from earliest times to present. African society is first examined in the primordial state and then reviewed against the coming of Islam, Christianity and Western cultural penetration; a discussion of the current prevalence of cultural syncretism and plurality in African cultures.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Social Science 1 course

HIST 257

Ethnicity and Conflict in South Africa

The history of South Africa from the 17th century to the present; its relations with neighboring communities; the coming of white settlers; African subjugation and the rise of apartheid; local and foreign reaction to the apartheid state; the process of decolonization; and ethnic and class cleavages in post-Apartheid society.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Social Science 1 course

HIST 258

Diversity, Society and Culture in African History

The study of Africa's pre-colonial past has produced a particularly wide variety of views and interpretations. Some writers have asserted, for example, that Africans possessed little political organization in the past, while others celebrate ancient African kingdoms. This course introduces students to the diverse histories of Africa, from the development of early African communities to the late 19th century. The course will offer a broad survey of the history of Africa, including its diverse cultures, belief systems, political complexities, statecraft, and the fluid nature of African societies. We will examine pre-colonial texts, ideas, cultures, institutions, geography, communities, arts, technologies, and commercial systems to explain the major dynamics of economic, social, and political change in Africa. The purpose of this course is to help students make their own judgments about competing claims and conflicting interpretations of the African past. We will acquaint ourselves with the various methodologies and sources that historians of pre-colonial Africa use in their craft, including archaeology, linguistics, oral traditions, historical anthropology, environmental history, and documentary evidence. As we will see, one of the most exciting aspects of African historical study is that it draws upon kinds of evidence which historians in other parts of the world rarely use, and so gives us an unusual perspective on the human past.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course

HIST 259

Legacies of Empire and Decolonization of Africa

This course introduces students to the history of the African continent from the 1880s (the eve of colonial rule) to the late twentieth century. The central themes the course considers include European scramble for Africa and the African responses; Colonial rule, economic policies, and colonial health policies; the development of African nationalism; colonial legacies and the struggle to achieve justice, freedom, economic opportunities, and democracy; and the challenges of postcolonial Africa. The first section of the course focuses on the European conquest of Africa and the effects of colonial rule on African politics, economies, cultures, and communities. The second section looks at the rise of African nationalism and the methods liberation movements used to fight colonial rule. The third section examines the challenges of postcolonial Africa - economic, social, and political challenges. The course will provide students with a historical framework for analyzing and assessing the legacies of colonialism to help them critically think about the postcolonial challenges African countries face today.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities-or-Global Learning 1 course

HIST 260

Politics and Society in Africa

This course introduces students to the major African issues, debates, and historical patterns of social diversity, Africa's role in the globalizing world, and economic and political developments in Africa in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. The course explores a sequence of significant themes in contemporary Africa, including terrorism; dictatorships, and contested elections in Africa; Africa's position in the global economy; women and the youth's political and economic participation; climate change; health care transformations; the state of the entertainment industry in Africa; social media and everyday life in Africa; Gender and Sexuality; the state of the media in Africa: and the efforts by different ethnic, religious, LGBTQIA+, political, and racial groups to achieve equality, recognition, and constitutional protections. We will examine African governments' and citizens' responses to global issues impacting local economies, governance, cultures, social movements, natural resources management, and civil and political rights. The course will provide students with a historical framework for analyzing and assessing Africa's civil society, cultures, development, economies, and politics to help them critically think about the news and other information they encounter in their everyday life about Africa and Africans.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities-or-Global Learning 1 course

HIST 263

North American Colonies & Nations, 1491-1808

This course surveys key themes and events in North American history from the eve of the Columbian exchange to the early decades of the United States. We will interrogate major social, imperial, and constitutional developments, with a particular emphasis on the experiences and perspectives of Native Americans, of African Americans, and of women. We also trace the development of a string of Anglo-American colonies which, in the late eighteenth century coalesced to form an extensive, unstable independent republic. Conflict, contestation, and community-formation are at the core of our inquiry.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course

HIST 264

Nineteenth-Century United States

The United States between 1815 and 1900: development of a market economy and industrial society; political parties and presidential leadership; westward expansion; reform movements; slavery and emancipation; sectional crisis and Civil War; ethnic and class conflicts; and roles of women, African Americans and Native Americans.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course

HIST 265

Twentieth-Century United States

An overview of the history of the United States during the long 20th century, including domestic politics, foreign policy, and social power. Not only will we think about the big ideas, events, and themes in U.S. history, we will learn how to ask meaningful historical questions and develop the skills to answer them, especially primary-source analysis. Central questions we will ask are: What have Americans considered to be the role of the government? What have Americans considered to be the role of the United States in the world? How has the meaning and practice of democracy changed? How has power operated through categories of race, gender, and class? What stories about the nation's past and identity have Americans created to serve contemporary purposes?

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course

HIST 273

Roots of American Popular Music

An examination of the roots of American popular music from the mid-18th century to the mid-1960s. Topics include it British and African origins and development in the South; expressions in ballads, hymns, spirituals, blues, work songs, protest songs, and regional music; and how technology changed vernacular music to create new genres of popular music, including minstrelsy, gospel, urban blues, country, and rock 'n roll.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course

HIST 275

African American History

A survey of the black experience in the United States focusing on ways African Americans reacted individually and collectively to their condition and how they have contributed to the development of the United States.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

HIST 277

US Women's History: 1700-1900

The impact of settlement, colonization, revolution and independence, industrialization, urbanization, slavery, the Civil War, westward expansion, education and immigration on women. Readings will be drawn from journals, diary excerpts, short stories, novels and letters and from scholarly essays and monographs by historians and other social scientists. Class, race and ethnic differences will be examined throughout the semester.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course

HIST 278

Women in the United States, 1890-Present

This course is a chronological survey of U.S. women's history over the long 20th century, focusing on women in politics and women as citizens. We approach modern U.S. history using gender as a lens of analysis, keeping in mind that women have never been a monolithic or unified group. Accordingly, we pay attention to nuances along lines such as race, class, region, political ideology, religion, and sexuality. Topics include the long and diverse suffrage movement, electoral politics, and social movements. In addition to learning what happened in the past, we consider how historians have conceived of the field of women's history, paying attention to how scholars use sources, periodize the past, and theorize women's experiences. Students have the opportunity not only to study history but to do history through archival research and primary-source analysis.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course

HIST 281

History of the Black Atlantic

An exploration of the historical foundations and the development of Black life in Africa and its later diffusion in the Black Diaspora. Its purview will range from pre-colonial dynamics to the more contemporary manifestations of global Black history in North America, Europe, the Caribbean, Central America, Latin America and Melanesia. Topics include: African cultures before European contact, the slave trade and its impact on Africa and the Atlantic economy, the middle passage, internal migration in Africa and case studies of the creation of Diasporic communities and cultures.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Social Science-or-Privilege, Power And Diversity 1 course

HIST 283

Plague in the Islamic World

This course examines the history of the encounter with plague of people living in the Islamic world from 610 CE to 1600 CE. Using primary and secondary sources, we will study how these societies understood the plague (scientifically and theologically), what was the impact of plague on these societies (demographically, socially and economically), and how these societies responded to repeated bouts of plague (medically, religiously, socially, institutionally and politically), and any changes therein. The course will also engage with recent research in genomics to understand the evolution and transmission of the plague bacillus. In doing so, we will discuss how the new genomic science can help improve our understanding of the history of the plague pandemics, and how studying the history of past pandemics can help our understanding of modern pandemics.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities-or-Global Learning 1 course

HIST 285

History of Science I

This course surveys the history of the human endeavor to understand the natural world around them. It particularly problematizes the notion that the rise of modern science, as practiced in Western societies, was inevitable or pre-ordained. Instead, with the help of primary and secondary sources, the course examines the various trajectories of science from the Greek, to the Islamic to the Western medieval context.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course

HIST 295

History Today: Debates and Practices

An introduction to history as a discipline, including why historians interpret the past in different and often contested ways; problems of historical method, including use of evidence, objectivity, causation, periodization and categories of historical analysis (such as, nation-state, gender, race and class); and current approaches and methodologies in the history profession.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

HIST 300

Topics

A study of a special topic at an advanced level. This and all 300-level courses are small discussion classes. Descriptions of HIST 300 courses offered in a given semester are available on the History department Website or in the History department office prior to registration for that semester. May be repeated for credit with different topics.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1/2-1 course

HIST 332

European Union

The seminar surveys European integration in its historic context and emphasizes the project for European unity since the Second World War. Topics for consideration include historic conceptualizations of East and West and the 'Idea of Europe', integration as a response to the World Wars experience and its evolution in a divided Cold War Europe. Theoretical assessments of integration and the comparative significance of both international and domestic factors are discussed as well as controversies over supra-nationalism, 'European identity' and the expansion of membership.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

HIST 334

History Beyond the Classroom

Most Americans learn about the past not in college classrooms but from visiting historical museums and sites, through reading 'popular' historical works and from hobbies, like genealogy and living history re-enactments. Visual markers of past eras-historical landscapes, buildings, and artifacts-are powerful places for learning about the past. But who decides which "pasts" are worth preserving and whose stories are retold? What is the relationship between history learned in the classroom and history learned at public sites? This course examines these questions from three perspectives: material culture, the objects that are the primary historical documents for interpreting the past at historical sites and museums; history museums and their role in determining how the past is displayed; and public member, or popular uses of the past for commemoration or for heritage purposes.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

HIST 336

The Witchcraze in Early Modern Europe

Why did Europe suddenly erupt in a fury of witch trials in the sixteenth century? Why did these trials just as suddenly die out in the eighteenth? What was the role of religion in the pursuit of witches? Was misogyny at the heart of the witchcraze? These questions and more will be addressed in this course as we try to understand the nature of the European witchcraze. Through a close and careful analysis of primary documents, we will try to develop our own conclusions on this troubling episode of European history. Counts toward Womens Studies major.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

HIST 337

The Age of Louis XIV

A study of life in France during the reign of the Sun King. A deeper understanding of 17th-century French life is attempted through a study of French history, politics, society, literature, philosophy and art.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

HIST 338

The Enlightenment: Europe and the Other

This 18th-century European intellectual movement is approached through the works of the major thinkers of the period. Writers such as Voltaire, Montesquieu, Diderot, Rousseau, and de Sade are examined.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

HIST 339

Imperial Europe

This course will look at Western Europe at its height of power and influence and in the decades leading up to and including WWI (c.1870-1918). The class will approach Imperial Europe through a series of thematic clusters, such as empire, imperialism and militarism, nations and nationalism, gender and generation, culture, technology, politics and political organization, intellectual developments, mortality, sexuality, etc.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

HIST 340

Modern European Women's History

In this course we will use women's experiences as the key to understanding European history over the past two centuries. Some of the issues that shaped the 19th century, such as gender relations in modern society are still being discussed today; others that we now take for granted such a universal suffrage, were by no means normal a hundred years ago. The course will address topics concerning women's experiences and will encourage students to explore issues in women's history and the influences that women had on the development of modern Europe.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

HIST 342

Europe of Dictators

An examination of the social, economic, political and ideological conditions and processes that led to the establishment of single-party dictatorships in Italy, Germany and the Soviet Union.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

HIST 344

Paradise Revisited

The notion of the Pacific Islands as 'paradise' is a historic and pervasive fixture of stage, screen and tourist brochures. But when and how did the European construction of 'paradise' and the representations that followed from it come about? More importantly, how have indigenous peoples of the Pacific Islands represented or "re-presented" Oceania in light of that legacy? HIST 344 analyzes depictions of the Pacific Islands including Aotearoa (New Zealand) from a historical perspective with a chronological emphasis on the late 18th century to the present. During the semester students will engage and evaluate historiographical and epistemological debates which have shaped the study of Oceania as well as primary and secondary sources drawn from history, literature, anthropology, art and film.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities 1 course

HIST 350

The Samurai in Feudal Japan

An exploration of feudal Japanese society (1185-1800) through an in-depth study of its major actors - the samurai. The topics that are explored in this course include the mores, ethos and valor of the samurai, on the one hand, and the changing as well as enduring social, economic and political structure of this period on the other hand.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

HIST 351

Women and Family in Modern China

The role and status of women and the evolution of the Chinese family from the late imperial period to the present. It draws on materials from novels and biographical case studies.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

HIST 353

Industrial East Asia

An examination of the emergence of East Asia from a pre-industrialized backwater in the 19th century to a vibrant economic region by the 1980s.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

HIST 355

African Nationalism, 1890-1985

A survey of African resistance to European imperialism with emphasis on the national peculiarities of the European penetration, the experience of Settler and non-Settler Africa, the personnel and methodology of proto-nationalist and nationalist resistance, and the general outcome of these efforts.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Global Learning 1 course

HIST 356

African Slavery

A review of the processes of incorporation into slavery; slaves in production and exchange; the resistance history of slavery; the gender implications of the slave state; slaves and social mobility, interdependence and the manipulations of class; and the dynamics of manumission and abolition.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

HIST 358

Gender and Sexuality in the Middle East

This course seeks to explore the evolution of gendered and sexual identities in the Middle East from the rise of Islam to the present. We shall explore ways in which people in the Middle East have shaped and redefined gender and sexual identities from the earliest days of Islam to the present. Although the primary focus of the course will be the Muslim populations in the Middle East, the course will also examine conceptions of gender and sexuality amongst non-Muslim populations in the Middle East, before and after the rise of Islam.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

HIST 359

Partition and Memory

This course examines the history of partition, its representations, memories and legacy in Israel-Palestine and Pakistan-India in a broadly comparative manner. The course not only engages with the events leading up to partition, but how partition and partition memories and narratives continue to inform the construction of national identities, and how the conflicts within those narratives continue to fuel current clashes in these regions. Using an interdisciplinary approach, the course grapples with the differing memories of key events to flesh out their ethical and political implications. The course also engages with films on and about partition and memory. It assesses the limits and capabilities of this genre for refining cultural memories, coping with memories of violence, as well as challenging the status quo of collective memories and national histories.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1

HIST 362

Voices of a Revolutionary Age

This course investigates the American Revolution in the context of upheavals in the broader Atlantic World between 1763 and 1815. We organize our inquiry into the emergence of the United States around the themes of liberty, loyalty, and legacy. We investigate the choices and experiences of people of African, European, and North American descent, the high-born and the humble, during a tumultuous half-century. Peoples, nations, and empires contested and transformed the concept of liberty. In the process, men and women of this revolutionary age reimagined their loyalties with long lasting legacies for the borders, boundaries, and identities that have shaped the modern world.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

HIST 364

Civil War and Reconstruction

The causes, impact and consequences of the Civil War: origins of sectional conflict, the secession crisis, emancipation, Reconstruction policies, political and military leadership, the impact of events on civilians and soldiers and long-term effects of this period on American society and political institutions.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

HIST 367

The Civil Rights Movement

The black-led freedom movement in the South from the end of World War II to the late 1960s. Prerequisites: HIST 265, HIST 275 or permission of instructor.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
HIST 265, HIST 275 or permission of instructor 1 course

HIST 368

United States in the Seventies (Was U.S. in the Sixties)

Far more than just an interstitial period between the liberal sixties and the conservative 1980s, the 1970s were important and transformative years for American politics and culture. The post-WWII affluent era had ended, but what would be next? This course explores historical scholarship on the turbulent and contradictory decade, which nurtured both expanded social movements demanding rights on the one hand and, on the other, a powerful conservative backlash to liberalism as well as identity politics. We look at a range of sources to focus especially on the cultural and political realms, focusing on cynicism in politics, race, class, and gender to assess what the seventies mean for American history.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

HIST 371

Family and Community in America

An interdisciplinary study of the history of the family and community in the United States from colonial times until the present.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

HIST 373

Chicago and New York

An investigation of the life and times of two of America's greatest metropolises, from their founding until approximately 1980. The course emphasizes the following themes: popular culture, poverty, politics, race, ethnicity and social reform. Historical narratives, literature and social criticism will be used as a springboard for discussing the variety of ways in which ordinary people constructed lives on a human scale and sometimes thrived in fast-changing urban environments.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

HIST 374

Race and Identity in the US

This course explores how ideas about race and ethnicity in the United States have changed over time and have been rooted in particular historical contexts, focusing on the relationship between racial and national identity. How have race and ethnicity shaped ideas of national belonging and citizenship rights? How have racial/ethnic appeals been used for political purposes? How have racial ideas been used to craft certain narratives of national history, and what counternarratives have challenged them? Focusing on the 19th and 20th centuries, we will interrogate racial ideologies that have created social hierarchies as well as strategies to resist marginalization.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Arts and Humanities-or-Privilege, Power And Diversity 1 course

HIST 375

Women's Social and Political Movements

The varieties of female activism in the United States in the 19th and 20th centuries. Among the topics covered are benevolence, abolitionism, women's rights, the movement for reproductive freedom, the social settlement movement, temperance, suffragism and anti-suffragism, labor organizing, civil rights, women's liberation and radical feminism.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

HIST 382

US/Latin American Relations

An examination of the political and economic contours of the relationship between the United States and Latin America. This course surveys the historical period from the late 1700s to the present. Special focus is on reading and using primary documents.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

HIST 385

Latin American Revolutions

This discussion course examines the revolutionary movements which swept Latin America after World War Two. These include: Guatamal in 1940-1954, Bolivia 1952, Cuba 1959, Chile 1970, Nicaragua 1979 and Chiapas 1994. Our analysis will cover a range of social, political, economic, and cultural frameworks for understanding these revolutions, why they happened, did they succeed, or why they failed. Analysis will focus on theories of revolution, why they happen, what their process is, and the thorny issue of how to evaluate their success or failure. We will learn about peasant and urban working class movements, as well as issues of consciousness as it pertains to the formation of counter-hegemonic movements. Guerilla warfare, the 'foco' strategy, and organizing tactics will be examined. We will develop an understanding of the role of US foreign policy in each revolution. the course will have a gender component by exploring how the role of women changed over time in the revolutionary movements. We develop an understanding of how and why the pre-1994 Chiapas revolutions were 'modern' responses to social, political, economic and cultural problems and how the Zapatista rebellion can be understood as the first postmodern revolution. Students will learn about why the autonomous movement is a more powerful tool of revolution than the 'traditional' revolutionary movements of the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. The course will hae approximately 7 monographs. Reading will be at the pace of a book every two weeks (150 pages a week+/-). Students will write multiple thesis drive essays responding to the reading. There will also be a term paper.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

HIST 399

Internship in Public History

Exploration of current practices in public history through readings and hands-on experiences at a historical museum, school or historical site. History 334 is recommended for HIST 399 but not a formal requirement.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1/4-1/2 course

HIST 490

Seminar

The practice of history as a discipline through research, interpretation and writing a major paper. Students are expected to take the seminar in their major area of concentration. Descriptions of seminar topics offered in a given semester will be made available prior to registration.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
1 course

HIST 491

Reading Course

A study of either a geographical area (East Asia, Russia, France, etc.), a period (Europe since 1789, early America, etc.) or a movement, division of history or institution (socialism, military history, feudalism, etc.). Reading and/or research. Prerequisite: permission of instructor. May be repeated for credit with different topics.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
Permission of instructor 1/4-1/2-1 course

HIST 495

Senior Thesis

Intensive research on a topic approved by the instructor and resulting in a thesis prepared under the instructor's supervision. During the first semester, the student will undertake reading and research and may participate in either a section of HIST 490 or a seminar group limited to students enrolled in HIST 495; during the second semester the student will complete the thesis and defend it before a committee of history department faculty. Prerequisite: a major in history with a GPA in the major of at least 3.3 and permission of the department.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
A major in history with a GPA in the major of at least 3.3 and permission of the department 1 course

HIST 496

Senior Thesis

Intensive research on a topic approved by the instructor and resulting in a thesis prepared under the instructor's supervision. During the first semester, the student will undertake reading and research and may participate in either a section of HIST 490 or a seminar group limited to students enrolled in HIST 495; during the second semester the student will complete the thesis and defend it before a committee of history department faculty. Prerequisite: a major in history with a GPA in the major of at least 3.3 and permission of the department.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
A major in history with a GPA in the major of at least 3.3 and permission of the department 1 course